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Blubaugh: As coronavirus crisis rages it’s trite but true that we’re all in this together

We wake up today to a world nearly unrecognizable from the one we took for granted only a few weeks ago.

Want to go for a workout at your gym? Can’t do it. Want to go meet a friend at the coffee shop? Can’t do it. Want to go out out for dinner and a movie? Can’t do it.

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And those are the most minor of the inconveniences, meaningless, really, compared to the inability for many to go to work, for any to go to school, for most to keep important medical appointments.

Meanwhile, we wash our hands until our skin hurts, we keep 6 feet away from all other human beings — looking askance at anyone who coughs or sneezes — and we hope against hope that no one we know and love comes down with the coronavirus, knowing full well, statistically, many probably will.

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My heart goes out to those afflicted, as well as to so many unable to carry on with milestones — from being able to get married in front of friends and family to celebrating important life events such as the birth of a child to properly paying tribute to and mourning the deceased.

I feel for young people and all they’re missing or are likely going to miss, from outdoor school to proms to the spring sports season to high school or college graduation.

But as many have pointed out, previous generations have experienced far more hardship over longer periods of time. And, of course, kids are resilient.

From my very limited observations, I would suggest kids are handling it really well and, at least in my unscientific sample, seem far less stressed and anxious than I would’ve expected, but, rather, more relaxed and comfortable than usual. Yes, they miss their friends, but they have more ways than ever to stay in touch with them. What they don’t miss is those fellow students who make many of their school days so difficult to get through. Yes, they miss their sports and other extracurriculars. What they don’t miss is the ridiculous overscheduling their parents have been putting them through.

If it wasn’t for the tragedy, it would be a fascinating time from a scholarly perspective. It will be written about and analyzed forever, from the effect of a significant global work shutdown on the atmosphere to the effect so much self-quarantine on crime, particularly domestic violence, to, of course, the effect the crisis will have on the 2020 presidential election.

It seems wholly inappropriate to worry much about politics right now. Not with so many previously employed, hard-working people suddenly on unemployment. Not with so many small-business owners wondering if they’ll ever reopen. Not with so many seniors or soon-to-be seniors looking at their retirement savings, so sharply down, trying to convince themselves the markets will return to previous levels while cursing themselves for not having withdrawn it all last month and placed it safely under their mattresses.

For some, of course, politics doesn’t take a break even in times like these. Democrats blame Republicans. Republicans blame Democrats. Everybody blames President Trump. And Trump accepts responsibility for none of it.

Many of us, though, realized pretty quickly that fighting over politics is the last thing we need right now. In addition to practicing social distancing, we’re also practicing social media distancing, exceptions being made for posts designed to unite rather than divide.

How many times have you heard over the past two weeks that “we’re all in this together”? It’s trite but true.

That left-winger over there you used to complain about? She’s sewing masks to help alleviate that tremendous shortage. That rich right-winger you used to hate so much? He’s raising his employees’ salaries and repurposing his company to make ventilators. Those people accepting government handouts you used to criticize? They’re you in a few weeks when the stimulus checks start showing up.

About all we can do is hunker down, try to get some exercise for both mind and body, be good to each other, check in with friends and family and maybe, as we wait for life to return to some sense of normalcy, binge-watch a little TV. It has been said that the Netflix series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” is doing more to get our nation through this than anything else. I wouldn’t go that far, but, then, I’m only on the fourth episode.

Bob Blubaugh is the editor of the Carroll County Times. His column appears Sundays. Email him at bob.blubaugh@carrollcountytimes.com.

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